2018 is already a good year for electricity generation via wind power with total output reaching 10 gigawatts for the first time last week with it continuing to climb before peaking at 13.5 gigawatts. This meant that 29% of the UK’s electricity was supplied by wind power at that point.
The UK’s total renewable energy capacity currently stands at 39GW with 12.5 of those gigawatts coming from onshore wind and 6.1GW from offshore wind. This means that we generate twice as much electricity from wind as we do from coal.
Although new developments have almost ground to a halt there are still a limited amount being added each month so as the overall capacity increases so will output meaning we can expect more record breaking days, especially during the winter months when it is traditionally windier.
The figures come from Drax Electric Insights which gathers together the different energy sources generating electricity in the UK and analyzes the supply, demand, price, and environmental impacts.
Speaking at the release on the record breaking numbers Dr Jonathan Marshall, Energy Analyst at the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU) said: “Breaking short-term output records on top of monthly and annual figures clearly shows that wind is now a major part of the UK electricity mix, and will continue to be in the future. Claims that the grid would be unable to handle 5, 10, or 20% wind power have been shown to be well wide of the mark.
“Possessing some of the windiest regions in Europe, the UK is poised to lead its peers in wind generation. Analysis has shown a UK resource of nearly 500 TWh per year, more than a third more than current annual power consumption. The Government has shown its willingness to install new capacity offshore, but is lagging on onshore wind as other countries move ahead, and as its official advisors call for barriers preventing the cheapest form of electricity generation to be removed.”
Also announced this week is the Scottish Government has launched a £60m fund called The Low Carbon Infrastructure Transition Programme (LCITP) to finance large scale low carbon energy projects. The European Regional Development Fund will co-fund the projects which in order to qualify must support the new Energy Strategy which was published in December 2017.
Projects which qualify will include low carbon heating and ultra-low emission vehicle charging infrastructure. The maximum grant per project is capped at £100,000, they must be based in Scotland and be operational by 2021. In addition the grant can only make up to 50% of the total capital value of the project.
Scottish Climate Change Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said: “We have, first and foremost, a moral obligation to fight climate change. But for a nation with Scotland’s resources and skills, the transition to a more prosperous, low-carbon and circular economy also presents a valuable economic opportunity.
“We are determined to attract, retain and develop the low-carbon innovators who will shape our future. That is why I am delighted to confirm that we are now accepting applications from innovative local energy projects to the Low Carbon Infrastructure Transition Programme.”
As wind power continues to prove itself as a reliable clean source of energy we hope that a turnaround in government policy to once again support the infrastructure can be implemented. The grid has proven itself capable of handling the loads and advancements in storage options give even more flexibility.
Although 100% of all our energy requirements via wind alone is unlikely, 100% from all renewables is now certainly achievable however in order for this to happen wind must bear the largest portion of the load. Something which cannot happen without more projects developed and linked to the grid.